Sometimes a change in our daily coffee is appreciated. Although single origins can be varied and very delicious, craving for a different experience can take over. So why not make an Arabic coffee and have fun with an unfamiliar brew method?
Making Arabic Coffee, or Qahwah
For this recipe I used the Omani coffee pictured below, already mixed with cardamom. The coffee is medium roasted and finely ground. It’s also not too bitter and there are no obvious faults, but that might be because of the cardamom.
However, Arabic style coffee can still be made without it pre-blended. I recommend using a fairly bland or mild coffee as the cardamom flavours will hit the taste buds with a citrusy acidity and a warm, sweet spice. It will not taste balanced with the light-roasted, bright acidic coffees of East Africa.
After choosing a coffee, it needs to be finely ground. Use the smallest size on the Coffee Rambler grind wheel. Cardamom seeds will also be used. To do this, add 10 -15 cardamom pods to a dry pan and heat for a couple minutes. This makes the outer pod brittle and lightly roasts the seeds inside. After 3-4 minutes on a low heat, carefully remove the pods so not to burn your hands. The pods can now be cracked, revealing the little, dry poo-looking seeds. Add them to the 30g of finely ground coffee.
The little, dry poo seeds of cardamom
To brew the Arabic Coffee
1. Boil 500 ml of water in a sauce pan (or ibrik if you have one) on a stove top. Boiling water firstly in a kettle will speed up the process.
2. Once boiling and bubbling, add the 30g of coffee and cardamom.
3. It’ll fizz, so be careful it to stop it boiling over. Use a spoon to calm it down.
4. After 3 minutes turn the heat off and let the coffee rest. This will give time for the grounds to settle and ease pouring.
5. After a 2 minute rest, slowly pour the coffee through a paper filter. Pour around the edges to catch fines and to avoid clogging. Leave a little water in the sauce pan to keep as much of the coffee grounds in there as possible. We don't want them in the filter.
I use a 1:17 ratio for Arabic coffee because it provides the best balance for me. Adding more coffee makes it fuller and grittier, less makes it a bit bland and bitter. Experiment and see what you most enjoy.
What spices can I add to coffee?
For other spiced coffee drinks try adding cloves, ginger, chilli powder and/or cinnamon. Cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg represent the sweetest of the spices whilst chilli powder and ginger will add a spicy kick. Try tasting each spice on its own first to understand the flavour and how it can be harmonised with coffee.
Leave comments of your Arabic coffee qahwah experience below and share your own recipes!